The uniforms for youth groups have varied over time, moving with the fashions of the day. Some like the Scout Smokey Bear hat have come to be virtual symbols of the group. Some of the garments like the short pants introduced by Baden Powell's Scouts played an important role in developing more comportable, less restrictive clothes for boys. Here we access the major uniform items. We also have some information on seasoanl attire. Seasonal adaptions of youth group uniforms varies widely amony youth groups and over time. Early youth groups, especially the Scouts, did not have seasonal uniforms, but rather one basic uniform. This was in part because youth group activities was seen as primarily a summer activity with hiking and camping at the core of the programs. We also are developing information on the uniform items adopted by the major youth group organizations. Some organizations have had destinctive uniform items while others have worn some of the common items adopted by youth groups in general. There are many similarities, but some destinctive uniforms worn in a variety of countries. Boys uniform groups have had different requirements over time. Some have been very strict about how the uniform should be worn. HBU in constructing this website has used old photographs submitted by readers, images from historical magaznes, drawings and other art work, and in some instances photographs of actual vintage uniform items. As some readers have expressed a special interest in vintage clothing, we thought it might be a good idea to cross references these images.
HBU has collected extensive information on specific uniform items. Some of the major items includes caps, kerchiefs, shiryts, pants, and socks, but there are a variety of other items, accessories, and equipment as well. These items, the styles and colors, have varied among groups and over time. Quite a wide variety of caps and hats in particular have been worn. Shirts have varied widely. The first pants were short pants, but long pants are now very common. Early groups wore kneesocks, but anbkle socks are now more common.
Seasonal adaptions of youth group uniforms varies widely amony youth groups and over time. Early youth groups, especially the Scouts, did not have seasonal uniforms, but rather one basic uniform. This was in part because youth group activities was seen as primarily a summer activity with hiking and camping at the core of the programs. Gradually programs were extended to year roun activities. Sone groups have adopted winter and summer uniforms. Here the best example was the Hitler Youth which had a short pants uniform for the summer and a kind of skipants uniform for the winter. Other groups adopted winter uniform items, but it was generally left up to the individaul as to when and where to wear them. Some groups where the same basic uniform all year round, but add non-uniform warm clothing for the winter. The American Scouts for examplde have had many winter uniform items. Some groups do not have winter uniform uniforms, primarily because the are located in tropical regions where there is only limiited seasonal change.
Some information is available on the garments worn by boys in specific youth groups. There are many similarities. Most uniformed youth groups have adopted very similar garments, but in various colors. There have, however, been some destinctive uniforms worn in a variety of countries. Considerable vaiety has developed as national groups, especially the Scouts because of its international character, have developed a wide variety of uniform items and styles.
Scouting associations around the world have generally chosen very similar garments. The English Scout uniform was very influential and many of the Scout associations in other countries initially selected similar styles. Even when countris began to adopt different uniforms, they mostly continued the same basic garments initially selected by Lord Baden Powell for the English Scouts. Boy and Cun Scout uniforms around the world have generally utilized the same garments, but often in different colors. There have been some differences in the garments worn, especially in the early years of Scouting. These differences have generally narrowed in recent years. Some national associations have adopted the same uniforms for both Cubs and Boy Scouts.
The Boys' Brigade for years was associated with the pillbox cap.
The Hitler Youth pages are organized a bit differently yjan the other organizations, but a lot of garment information is located here.
Pioneer uniforms like Scout uniforms varied from country to country. Pioneer uniforms appear to have been much simplier than Scout uniforms with far fewer badges being worn. The one constant from country to country is of course the scarves. All Pioneer units had red scarves, although younger boys might wear blue scarves. Boys in Asian countries often wear the scarf with their own clothes--perhaps because they can't aford a uniform. Caps were much less common. Shirts were usually plain white or blue dress shirts--although other colors were also worn. Boys wore both short and long pants. Kneesocks were not as common as in Scouting and in many cases there was no standard type of socks. Sandals were not common, but
were sometimes worn. The girls generally wear the same unform with a skirt rather than pants.
Boys uniform groups have had different requirements over time. Some have been very strict about how the uniform should be worn. It was up to the local group to enforce the regulations set forward by the national organization. Generally groups were much stricter than is currently the case. Uniform requirements began to decline substantially after the 1960s. This has varied greatly, however, by group and chronological era. Some groups like British and American Scouts or the Hitler Youth were very strict about the uniform. Other groups like the Young Pioneers gave much less attention to uniform. Often groups did not insist that all uniform items be worn. The Scouts and Cubs in recent years varied greatly in requitements, often not insisting on uniform pants.
HBU in constructing this website has used old photographs submitted by readers, images from historical magaznes, drawings and other art work, and in some instances photographs of actual vintage uniform items. As some readers have expressed a special interest in vintage clothing, we thought it might be a good idea to cross references these images. For the most part they have been used on a variety of topical pages and not specific vintage clothing pages. We have just begun the process of cross indexing the various vintage clothing items used in HBU.
The uniform was pat of the appeal of these youth groups in the early 20th centuries. And this continued after World War II. I remember how much I liked my Cub uniform when I got it in 1951. A reader writes, " As a student of the power of integrational propaganda on the masses in various regimes, the importance of uniforms on children (whether in Germany or Mao's China of the Cultural Revolution) is a very powerful tool not to be underestimated." [Thompson] We think our reder is quite right about this. Children's attitides toward uniforms, however, do change over time. Scout iniforms, for example, became less popular in America during the Vietnam War era. The same general trend could be ibserved in Europe where uniforms lso became less popular.
Thompson, James. Email message, January 27, 2007.
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